Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Duncanville girls enter playoffs on brink of 2nd 100-game win streak
DUNCANVILLE — The Duncanville Pantherettes won 134 consecutive games and three straight championships from 1987-1991.
Nearly a quarter-century later, not a whole lot has changed.
Duncanville is seven wins away from a third straight 5A state championship, and it can win its 100th consecutive game Tuesday in a bi-district playoff against Killeen Harker Heights.
The team’s loyal legion of fans is enjoying this particular bout of déjà vu.
“We’ve all seen this before,” said Cliff Britton, a 61-year-old electrician who has been following Duncanville since 1986. “But there’s a newer generation that has never experienced this.”
None of Duncanville’s current players was alive when former coach Sandra Meadows led the Pantherettes on their historic run, but they are well versed in the program’s tradition.
Many of them grew up dreaming about the opportunity to play for Duncanville.
They dreamt of championships, though, not winning streaks. The streak never comes up in team meetings, coach Cathy Self-Morgan said, and the players never discuss it.
Senior guard Tasia Foman wasn’t even aware that Duncanville had won its 99th straight after a 67-56 victory against DeSoto on Tuesday.
And senior guard Ariel Atkins only shrugged when asked about the streak.
“Well Sandra Meadows won 134 straight,” Atkins said matter-of-factly. “People want this to be [special]. I just feel like we’ve got to stay focused, play good defense and win the next game.”
The current winning streak started with an 82-28 drubbing of Denton Ryan on Dec. 6, 2011. Many of the wins since then have featured similarly one-sided scorelines.
Duncanville’s last loss came three nights earlier in the Collin County Roundball Classic. Plano West, which has been one of the area’s pre-eminent powers since winning its state title in 2006, handed Duncanville a 58-50 defeat — its only loss during that 40-1 season.
Former Plano West coach Don Patterson couldn’t have known at the time that he’d be the last coach for nearly three full seasons to experience a win vs. Duncanville.
“I can’t even fathom a team going 99 games in a row without a defeat,” Patterson said. “We were happy with 16- and 17-game winning streaks.”
Duncanville still has a long way to go to break the record of its predecessor.
The program’s 134 consecutive wins is the third-longest winning streak on record by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Baskin, La., won 218 games in a row from 1947-53, and Monetta, S.C., won 154 straight from 1933-40.
Duncanville’s first win streak started on Dec. 30, 1987, with a 72-59 victory against Wilmer-Hutchins in the third-place game of the SWAAU tournament — which was later renamed the Sandra Meadows Classic.
The most notable win of the first streak was No. 93, which broke Waco Midway’s state record of 92 consecutive victories from 1974-77. Win No. 100 came against area-ranked No. 2 Irving on Nov. 20, 1990.
The streak ended with a 38-36 loss to Victoria in a 5A state semifinal on March 1, 1991.
“It was very shocking,” said Duncanville fan Tammy Anderson, who has been attending games since the mid-1980s. “It was a very disturbing loss for all the fans.”
It will be similarly shocking if Duncanville’s streak ends before winning a third state title.
The top-ranked Pantherettes (29-0) have already recorded wins against No. 2 Manvel, No. 3 Flower Mound Marcus, No. 4 Arlington Bowie, No. 5 Galena Park North Shore and No. 7 Southlake Carroll.
The strength of Duncanville’s schedule, Britton said, makes the current streak even more impressive than the first.
“Duncanville was just so far ahead of everybody back then,” Britton said. “Now there are a lot better teams and more parity. It’s harder nowadays.”
Duncanville beat Alexis Jones-led Irving MacArthur in overtime of the Region I final in 2012. It has beaten Plano West four times and Mansfield Timberview six times during the streak. Those loaded Timberview teams included Stanford freshman Lili Thompson, Arizona signee JaLea Bennett, Kansas signee Terriell Bradley and Texas Tech signee Dayo Olabode.
Duncanville has had its fair share of talent, too, including a trio of Texas signees. Atkins and Foman signed with Texas in November, and guard Empress Davenport, who helped the team to its 2012 state title, has appeared for the Longhorns in 22 games as a sophomore.
Atkins and Foman have been varsity starters during all three seasons of the winning streak, and that’s part of the reason they were so high on Texas coach Karen Aston’s list.
“They’ve been involved in a culture that’s used to winning,” Aston said. “They expect to win. When you have players with that type mind-set, you’re already ahead of the game.”
Every opposing coach wants to be the one who snaps the streak.
South Grand Prairie coach Samantha Morrow, who won four state titles in a row at Mansfield, has coached against both Duncanville dynasties.
She said she used to rev up her Mansfield teams for those Duncanville games by urging them to be the group that beat the streak.
“Someone is gonna do it someday,” Morrow would say. “Why not us?”
Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson will take a similar approach Tuesday. And she said the team enters the game with nothing but respect for what Duncanville has accomplished.
“It’s amazing they have 99 games under their belt,” Nelson said. “But any game we step into we’re trying to get a ‘W’ out of it. We’re going to respect them, and we’re going to try our best not to be 100.”